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Christie to support 5-year ban on fracking in New Jersey

christie033011_optEnvironmentalists want total ban on the controversial gas drilling method

BY TOM HESTER SR.
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday is expected to conditionally veto legislation that would make New Jersey the first state to ban the controversial practice of so-called fracking as a way to drill for gas.

The governor is expected to propose the Democratic-controlled Legislature amend the proposal to set a five-year moratorium on the drilling method, according to sources familiar with the issue.

The fracking ban bill (S-2576) was approved by the Legislature in June in response concerns raised by New Jersey environmentalists about potential pollution and public safety issues stemming from fracking. Anti-fracking and environmental groups plan to react to Christie’s action in a press conference set for the Statehouse early Thursday afternoon.

Environmentalists argue that fracking produces hazardous wastewater, which contains radioactive substances as well as toxic, carcinogenic chemicals. Three years ago, energy companies became interested in fracking in the Upper Delaware River Watershed and began buying mineral rights to the land underlain by the region's Marcellus Shale.

Since then, at least 200,000 acres of land have been leased for gas drilling in the Upper Delaware River region, a watershed the provides drinking water to over 15 million people, including 3 million in New Jersey.

Environmentalists state there have been more than 1,000 documented cases of water contamination near fracking drilling sites around the country.

"Governor Christie is making history in deciding whether or not to ban fracking in New Jersey,” Jim Walsh, Food & Water Watch director, said. “His choice will determine whether the drinking water of thousands is compromised with toxic, carcinogenic chemicals; whether our once-protected public lands are destroyed in pursuit of profit; and whether the goals of corporations override public safety. Furthermore, his decision serves as a model for neighboring New York and Pennsylvania, where gas drilling companies are waiting anxiously to begin fracking across the states."

Walsh and representatives of the Delaware Riverkeeper, the New Jersey Environmental Federation, the New Jersey Sierra Club, and Environment New Jersey are planning the press conference.



 
Comments (4)
4 Thursday, 25 August 2011 07:59
Bill Wolfe
Note to my friend Jim Walsh:

The gas industry is not "waiting anxiously to begin fracking across the states."

They have been fracking and continue to drill thousands of fracking wells in PA and NY.

As noted in a prior comment, Cuomo just cut a deal in NY and will allow fracking to expand greatly there.

PA is actively promoting fracking and thousands of wells are not producing billions of cubic feet of gas.

The ban bill on Gov. Christie's desk will have NO IMPACT - politically or legally - on frack drilling in NY and Pa.

As noted in a prior comment, the way to influence the fracking in PA and NY that will put NJ drinking water and the Delaware River at risk was to push the DRBC bill.

To make matters even worse (if that is possible here), there were amendments to the ban bill that would have blocked frack wastewater importation into NJ.

Those were abandoned during deliberations on the meaningless ban bill. Those amendments would have at least put teeth in an otherwise meaningless symbolic gesture.

And, ironically, there now really isn't even any symbolism behind the gesture, because NY and PA are forging ahead with fracking.
3 Thursday, 25 August 2011 07:47
Bill Wolfe
Because ENGO's demanded a ban, in the press and court of public opinion, Christie will now look like a pro-environment moderate with a 5 yea moratorium.

Net result: Christie gets credit for doing nothing and the public is duped.

This is what happens when the advocates play these kind of political games.

Worst of all possible worlds here - we all get fracked.
2 Thursday, 25 August 2011 07:20
bill wolfe
The bill is a symbolic gesture. Both sponsors have admitted that in open legislative hearings.

Even the AP is now reporting that in today's set up story.

There is no economically recoverable frack gas in NJ. There will never been any fracking in NJ.

The bill would ban an impossibility.

The real to NJ threat from fracking is from NY and PA drilling in the Delaware Watershed.

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has a moratorium on fracking in the watershed in place right now.

That moratorium would end upon adoption of proposed flawed regulations.

Both Senate and Assembly sponsors of the NJ fracking ban bill had introduced bills that would have prevented DEP from approving DRBC regulations. That would keep the current moratorium in place.

Both legislators abandoned that far tougher bill after pressure from oil, gas, and chemical industry lobbyists -

The Gov.'s Office threatened to veto that bill as an encroachment on his Executive powers.

The Dems were not willing to fight and abandoned that bill - that was the real protection for NJ drinking water and the Delaware River.

The NJ enviro's did not criticize that move by the Dems.

So don't be fooled by this symbolic gesture (whether a ban or moratorium). Both are equally meaningless.
1 Thursday, 25 August 2011 07:16
Dennis Delaney
Now we need New York's Gov. Cuomo to instill similar bans....After all, Don't we(NY and NJ) share drinking water from the Delaware River?

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